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Department of Physics, Applied Physics, and Astronomy
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
110 Eighth Street, Troy, New York 12180-3590 USA

Telephone:
(518) 276-6310
Fax: (518) 276-6680
E-mail: physics@rpi.edu

Hengshuo Fu
Undergraduate Research:
Hengshuo Fu

There is growing interest in the study of nanosized particles for electronic devices. One of the studies of interest by researchers in the area of organic devices is to position conducting nanoparticles in gaps of nanometer scale. Devices, such as molecular switches, transistors, or chemical sensors can be built based on this study.

My project goal is to build a chemical sensor with a single nanoparticle positioned in a nano-sized gap covered by chemical ligands. To accomplish this goal, the first part of my project is to build an AC circuit to trap gold nanoparticles with sizes of 20nm, 40nm and 60nm to a nanometer-level gap. The nanogaps are coated with octanethiol which act as the sensing element. I determine whether the particles are trapped by inspecting the device by scanning electron microscopy and by observing the decrease in voltage during trapping experiments. Based on this study the system can work as a chemical sensor that can be used as a platform to build a chemical sensor array to detect multiple volatile organic compounds.

I was born in China and had spent my all of my 18 years trying to get used to the Chinese culture. Now it is my fourth year in America and I am still trying to get used to the American culture.

I started doing research with Professor Lewis two years ago when I was still a sophomore. I chose to take the URP opportunity not only to get paid to cover the high cost of the flight ticket between America and China, but it attracted me more as an opportunity for me to apply the theoretical knowledge that I learnt in classes to real life.

I have participated in several projects since I started doing URP but this project attracted me the most since it involves course materials from both of my majors, which are applied physics and electrical engineering. Thus I could practice building circuits and calculate different parameters using equations from my physics textbooks.

I have learnt a lot since I started working in Professor Lewis’ group. My English skills have been improved a lot with the help from Professor Lewis and other co-workers. I have also learnt how to work with other people and how to manage my activities to complete tasks assigned in limited time. The skills I have learnt in Professor Lewis’ group will certainly become a helping hand whenever I start working.

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